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Hospital Authority should represent the taxpayers

Recently, my wife and I attended an open meeting of the Hospital Authority. We were hoping to learn just how the Authority planned to control Phoebe Putney now that it is a health care monopoly.

If the past history of "our hospital" is any indication of its future, we can expect the Phoebe administration to receive little guidance from the Authority.

We were in attendance while a stream of Albanians and some not-Albanians expressed their feelings about Phoebe. Those with ties to the hospital sang its praises, while those with no connection to Phoebe laid out in their five-minute time allotment their areas of dissatisfaction.

I had difficulty hearing the speakers who were facing the Authority members. The sound system is not adequate for so large a crowd, so I am unsure if my concerns were mentioned.

I have serious concerns regarding just how the health care monopoly will benefit Dougherty County citizens. Now that the doctors who work in the hospital are employees of the hospital and are paid by the hospital, who will look after the patient's best interest? Serving two masters is difficult and is usually discouraged.

The Phoebe administration has long wanted a monopoly. They placed every roadblock available that money could buy in attempting to rid Albany of a second hospital choice.

If the Phoebe administration had wanted the best for south Georgia patients instead of wanting "it all for themselves," Palmyra might still exist and those needing hospital care would still have a choice of a hospital.

The hospital authority paid $195 million for Palmyra and now proposes to lease those facilities to Phoebe for $1 per year for 40 years. This appears to be a poor return on so great an investment.

It is time for those representing the citizens of Dougherty County to manage the hospital for the benefit of Dougherty County taxpayers.

PAUL A. JONES

Albany